After waiting for almost seems like forever, Nazem Kadri has finally found a home — and it’s not reportedly with the New York Islanders. Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Kadri is set to sign with the Calgary Flames.
The contract’s reportedly a seven-year, $49 million deal that carries an AAV of $7 million, per Friedman. It would expire when Kadri turns 39.
Looking at the situation, Islanders missed out big time after playing a long waiting game with Kadri. Lou Lamoriello and New York had reportedly been exploring several options to clear cap space for Kadri, whether it be trading Anthony Beauvillier or Josh Bailey. And as they head into the season, they didn’t get a long opportunity to explore other options with Kadri being the holdup.
Kadri is fresh off the best season of his 13-year career. In 71 regular season games, the 31-year-old dished 28 goals and 59 assists for a career-high 87 points. He also had 15 points in 16 playoff games, including the Game 4 OT winner in the Stanley Cup Final, en route to the Colorado Avalanche‘s first championship since 2001.
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Rather than re-signing with the Avalanche, Kadri elected to explore his options on the free agent market. His asking price was reportedly upward of $9 million, which made signing him difficult. The Islanders also faced the task of clearing space for him.
Kadri is not only an elite playmaker who can put the puck in net and drive offense but he’s also a leader and brings a lot of heart, talent and grit to the ice. He also carries a winning mentality and knows what it takes to win. That would have been key for New York, who missed the 2022 postseason entirely following back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances.
Now, the team has to turn to other options on their free agent to do list. Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows still need new contracts. The team has $11.2 million in cap space to work with. And whether or not they’ll revisit the market for another name still available remains to be seen.
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